Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 34 (NeurIPS 2021)

*Ning Xu, Congyu Qiao, Xin Geng, Min-Ling Zhang*

Partial label learning (PLL) is a typical weakly supervised learning problem, where each training example is associated with a set of candidate labels among which only one is true. Most existing PLL approaches assume that the incorrect labels in each training example are randomly picked as the candidate labels. However, this assumption is not realistic since the candidate labels are always instance-dependent. In this paper, we consider instance-dependent PLL and assume that each example is associated with a latent label distribution constituted by the real number of each label, representing the degree to each label describing the feature. The incorrect label with a high degree is more likely to be annotated as the candidate label. Therefore, the latent label distribution is the essential labeling information in partially labeled examples and worth being leveraged for predictive model training. Motivated by this consideration, we propose a novel PLL method that recovers the label distribution as a label enhancement (LE) process and trains the predictive model iteratively in every epoch. Specifically, we assume the true posterior density of the latent label distribution takes on the variational approximate Dirichlet density parameterized by an inference model. Then the evidence lower bound is deduced for optimizing the inference model and the label distributions generated from the variational posterior are utilized for training the predictive model. Experiments on benchmark and real-world datasets validate the effectiveness of the proposed method. Source code is available at https://github.com/palm-ml/valen.

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